Raja believes that this development will only benefit Pakistan, which will now be taking on a second-string side of England.
Former Pakistan cricketer Ramiz Raja criticized the England team management after seven members of the ODI setup, including three players, tested Covid-19 positive yesterday. Raja feels that England has themselves to blame for this setback as there must have been a miss somewhere that led the virus to creep inside the bio-bubble.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was prompt to name a fresh 18-man squad for the series while confirming that the series would go as per the original schedule. Notably, the management had to name a new management group as well after four of their support staff members contracted with the virus too.
England’s original squad did not have Ben Stokes named, although he has been called and will lead the team in Eoin Morgan’s absence. Ramiz Raja, meanwhile, feels that this is a desperate move by the hosts.
“England players have tested positive, which is not a good thing. But it can bring negativity into the dressing room and you need to reboot your combination. They have brought Ben Stokes back, so you can understand their desperation,” Ramiz Raja said on his YouTube channel.
Their attitude towards Covid-19 was very bizarre: Ramiz Raja
Further, the 58-year-old stated that the attitude of England towards Covid-19 is bizarre. “Their attitude towards Covid-19 was very bizarre. They felt like they were in jail and were not ready to follow protocols like wearing masks and social distancing, and this desperation has resulted in their team grabbing negative headlines,” he said.
He believes that this development will only benefit Pakistan, which will now be taking on a second-string side of England with all the forced omissions. “Pakistan team has gotten advantage and they should benefit from the negativity in England’s dressing room. Pakistan has got some breathing space because of this tragedy, but it remains to be seen how they will play,” he said.
The series between the two sides gets underway in Cardiff on Thursday (July 8) with the first ODI, which will be followed by fixtures at Lord’s and Birmingham on July 10 and 13, respectively. The teams will play as many T20Is between July 16 to 20.